Reading Together

Engaging Undergraduate Writers Through an Online Book Club




book club, creative writing, reading skills, undergraduate, community, COVID-19


This teaching reflection examines how “reading together” was fostered in synchronous and asynchronous online environments in two undergraduate creative writing courses through participation in a virtual book club. In the first course, prior to the pandemic, students had the option of meeting in person or via Zoom while we read Daisy Johnson’s Oedipus Rex retelling, Everything Under, for the book club. In the second course, during the pandemic, students had virtual synchronous and written participation choices while we read together Jessica Anthony’s political satire, Enter the Aardvark, with the author visiting in two sessions. In both cases, the goals were consistent: to get students reading as writers; to foster intrinsic motivation through personal choice; and to satisfy students’ desire for community connection while still accommodating personal schedules and geographical location. A virtual book club lets students read on their own schedule and in their own space, but still share their experience and observations with peers over greater distances (and time zones) than would otherwise be possible.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Anthony, Jessica. 2020. Enter the Aardvark. New York: Little, Brown.

Bain, Ken. 2004. What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Beach, Richard, and Steven Yussen. 2011. “Practices of Productive Adult Book Clubs.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 55 (2): 121–31.

Broz, William. 2010. “Not Reading: The 800-Pound Mockingbird in the Classroom.” The English Journal 100 (5): 15–20.

Center for Professional Education of Teachers. 2017. “Book Clubs in the Classroom: 10 Tips for Success.” Archived at:

Cohen, Ronnie. 2006. “Building a Bridge to Liberal Learning: Using a Book Club Model to Foster Ethical Awareness.” The Journal of Legal Studies Education 23 (1): 87–103.

Darby, Flower, and James Lang. 2019. Small Teaching Online. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Driscoll, Beth. 2008. “How Oprah’s Book Club Reinvented the Woman Reader.” Popular Narrative Media 1 (2): 139–50.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. 1837. “The American Scholar.” Digital Emerson: A Collective Archive.

Griffard Baudoin, Phyllis, Tayseer Mosleh, and Saad Kubba. 2013. “Developing the Inner Scientist: Book Club Participation and the Nature of Science.” CBE Life Sciences Education 12 (1): 80–91.

Johnson, Daisy. 2018. Everything Under. Minneapolis: Greywolf Press.

Kardos, Michael. 2017. The Art and Craft of Fiction. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

King, Stephen. 2000. On Writing: A Memoir of Craft. New York: Scribner.

Kleon, Austin. 2012. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative. New York: Workman Publishing.

Konchar Farr, Cecilia, and Jaime Harker, eds. 2008. The Oprah Affect: Critical Essays on Oprah’s Book Club. Albany: State University of New York Press.

LaPlante, Alice. 2007. The Making of a Story. New York: W. W. Norton.

Longacre, Justin. 2021. “Beyond the Desk: Fostering Community Engagement Through Authentic Writing Experiences in and out of the Classroom.” In Imaginative Teaching Through Creative Writing, edited by Amy Ash, Michael Dean Clark, and Chris Drew, 231–40. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Minzesheimer, Bob. 2011. “How the 'Oprah Effect' Changed Publishing.” USA Today, May 23, 2011. Archived at:

Norrick-Ruhl, Corinna. 2019. Book Clubs and Book Commerce. Cambridge University Press.

Rooney, Kathleen. 2005. Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that Changed America. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press.

Rubin, Joan Shelley. 1985. “Self, Culture, and Self-Culture in Modern America: The Early History of the Book-of-the-Month Club.” The Journal of American History 71 (4): 782-806.

Scourfield, Jonathan, and Amanda Taylor. 2014. “Using a Book Group to Facilitate Student Learning About Social Work.” Social Work Education 33 (4): 533–38.

Sellers, Heather. 2017. The Practice of Creative Writing. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Sylvan, Lesley. 2018. “Bringing Book Club to Class: Engaging College Students in Reading Content-Specific Books Written for Popular Audiences.” College Teaching 66 (4): 225–34.

Verran, Joanna. 2019. “The Use of a Bookclub to Enhance Science Literacy and Understanding of Infectious Disease Epidemiology.” In Professional Education with Fiction Media: Imagination for Engagement and Empathy in Learning, edited by Christine Jarvis and Patricia Gouthro, 129–57. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wyant, Amanda, and Sarah Bowen. 2018. “Incorporating Online and In-Person Book Clubs into Sociology Courses.” Teaching Sociology 46 (3): 262–73.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Perkins, Tanya. 2022. “Reading Together: Engaging Undergraduate Writers Through an Online Book Club ”. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 6 (1):1-8.

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.